Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Osun monarch rapes a youth corp member

 THE reported incident in which the Alowa of Ilowa, Oba Bukola Alli, was alleged to have raped a 23-year old female youth corps member serving in his domain is shocking. There is need to get to the root of the allegation in order to establish the truth and if indeed the traditional ruler is found guilty, he should be made to face the music. The traditional council should also depose him to serve as deterrent to others who may be nursing such unholy amorous desires towards women.

Traditional rulers are supposed to be the custodians of our cherished cultural and ethical values. One way of doing that is to protect strangers in their communities.  It is immoral for a traditional ruler to put persons in his domain in harm’s way, not even a member of the national youth service corps. For a traditional ruler to take advantage of a vulnerable corps member, is most unfortunate. We condemn the irresponsible conduct of the Alowa of Ilowa and hope that his immoral act would be used to set an example.

Expectedly, the NYSC authorities are enraged over the ugly incident. The State NYSC Coordinator reported the matter to the national secretariat in Abuja. The NYSC Director-General, Brig. Gen. Maharazu Tsiga also reportedly briefed a lawyer to take up the matter.

Oba Bukola Alli had approached the corps member to ask for her assistance to organise a computer programme for his community. In the spirit of national service, the lady agreed. Subsequently, the two met on one occasion to draw up a plan and also announced the programme in Ilowa schools.

On March 25, the programme was scheduled to kick off. After introducing the programme to the pupils and some community members who turned up and also collecting the forms they filled, the female corps member reportedly dismissed the pupils and informed the monarch that she wanted to leave for her place of primary assignment. But as if the opportunity the Oba was waiting for had come, he offered to drop her off. The lady accepted, presumably, in good faith.

According to the female corps member, who narrated her ordeal at a press conference addressed by the State Director of NYSC, on getting to the place of her primary assignment, the Oba sped past and told her they had to go to Osogbo together to enter the names of the pupils in a computer there. One thing led to another. The Oba reportedly took her first to the Osun Grove for sight-seeing. Thereafter, he took her to his Osogbo residence when it was already getting late. It was there that the lady alleged that the Alowa raped her after entertaining her with food and orange juice, and threatening to harm her if she refused to co-operate.
What we are dealing with is a typical Nigerian story. First, the female youth corps member acted naively by trusting the traditional ruler so readily that she would travel about with him in his car and remain with him in his house till it was dark. She alleged that the Alowa had been making advances to her. That ought to have made her more careful.

At 23, she is old enough to know what to do to safeguard herself, especially, with undue advances coming from someone with whom she did not want to have an amorous relationship. This however, does not justify the traditional ruler’s conduct. That a man is a traditional ruler does not give him the right to rape, molest, or harass women, or abuse the rights of any other member of the community.

Rape is often difficult to prove under Nigerian law. It subjects women to humiliation, which makes many women not to report cases of rape to avoid being ridiculed. Besides, any woman associated with rape faces the risk of being stigmatised. We salute the female corps member’s courage in standing up for her right. There should be diligent prosecution of the case while every effort is made to ensure that justice is done in the matter.

Meanwhile, the corps member should be protected. The NYSC authorities should redeploy her to a different station.
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